Covid-19 Vaccines will be available for patients over 85 in the Swanlinbar GP. The first delivery has been made this morning. IT is hoped that most of those over 80 will also get vaccinated in this round. The practice will start arranging appointments as a matter of urgency.
This is very welcome news for the patients of this practice and their families who have been anxiously waiting for confirmation of the availability of the Vaccine.
It is unfortunately amongst the last practices to get the Vaccine but now that the issues have all been addressed the flow of vaccines should now progress for patients on the same basis as all other practices over the coming weeks.
The HSE have worked closely to address the requirement for the practice to administer the vaccine including upgrading the defibrillator in the surgery and arranging an agency nurse for the practice to complete the inoculation of patients. I thank the relevant officials for their work on this important issue.
The people who contacted me over recent weeks have naturally felt left behind waiting for the vaccine to arrive with reports of others in the general locality getting their injections. These most vulnerable people can now look forward to the protection the vaccine gives and the hope in the coming weeks of getting back to some normality. The patients from Swanlinbar, Corlough, Glangevlin and Bawnboy areas will be relieved and delighted with this confirmation.
I know that my colleague Cllr. Sean Smith has also been in contact with the HSE on this matter and he too welcomes this news.
Over the past week to ten days, I have spoken to Brendan Smith TD on at least a daily basis on this matter. He has been in constant contact with the HSE and the Office of the Minister for Health to get this matter resolved. His work has been critical in getting this matter resolved.
The announcement, by Minister Daragh O’Brien of over € 14.49 million to Cavan County Council under the Urban Regeneration & Development Fund will together with the matching funding of € 4.83 which Cavan County Council must provide will help transform this historic area in Cavan Town.
An investment of just short of € 20 million in the heart of our County Town will be truly transformative. Cavan County Council have worked closely with local property owners and brought in expert consultants to develop this plan. This funding allows for detailed design and construction. This plan takes account of the historic core of Cavan, centring on the Tower of the Franciscan Abbey. The concept is to develop a pedestrianised plaza with two key buildings, one a remote working centre the other a community services hub bringing under one roof a host of community organisations such as Citizen’s Information, MABS, Teach Oscoil and Breifne Integrated. The Council have acquired several buildings in and around the Abbey to create pedestrian links to Townhall Street, Main Street, Bridge Street and Abbey Street and have worked with a number of property owners to develop concepts as to how businesses can face out into the new core of the town.
The increased footfall, creative use of space, pedestrian areas all should create the environment for business to flourish and be a catalyst for further activity and life in the heart of Cavan Town, reduce vacancies and increase residential and business activity in the centre of the town.
This investment will create a truly people friendly core to Cavan Town. It must in addition to the investment by the Council generate investment from the private sector. It is very much in keeping with the Town Centre First and Regional Spatial Strategy.
I want to acknowledge the input of the consultants employed by Cavan County Council, the cooperation of local property owners, the interest of groups such as the Cavan Town Team and the Chamber of Commerce, the enthusiasm of the local community who have engaged in the plans to date but most importantly the hard work in making this application done by a small but dedicated team in Cavan County Council.
The next steps will involve detailed design, further detailed public consultation, the planning process and tendering for construction.
These are exciting times for Cavan Town, but this announcement is of significance for the entire County. The funding is the largest ever investment in urban regeneration in the County if not the region.
€ 139,596 has been allocated under the Outdoor Recreation Scheme to upgrade the Cavan Way, the 16 mile marked walk from Blacklion to Dowra taking in the Shannon Pot and Cavan Burren Park. This funding is primarily to take a section from the Shannon Pot towards the Trunk Road off the Glangevlin to Blacklion Road and follow more closely the route of the River. Local staff of Cavan County Council have worked closely with local landowners and as always received great cooperation.
The Cavan Way forms part of the Beara Breifne Way. It is a target of the National Trails Office to get as much of our walking routes off of Regional Road. This funding will bring the largest section of the Cavan Way off a regional road as well as keeping it along the route of the Shannon.
I hope this announcement is the start of much more significant funding to turn the Shannon Pot into the tourist attraction that it truly can be.
In addition to the excellent work of the Council Staff in the detailed work of preparing this application I also acknowledge the support of Brendan Smith TD for the project.
I have called on the HSE to act urgently to provide vaccines to patients in small rural practices who have not yet received their long awaited and much needed Covid-19 inoculation.
I received a number of queries from family members of people in the over-80 and over 70 categories over the past few days. Initially I thought perhaps it was an issue within a practice, but I was subsequently contacted by a GP in a small practice who confirmed that he has yet to receive a single Covid-19 vaccine.
The Irish Medical Organisation have been involved in coordinating the rollout. Practices with small numbers in the various cohorts have been asked to ‘buddy-up’ with another practice. In one such case the combined numbers in the two practices did not reach the threshold set out by the IMO.
At this stage there seems to be nothing but bureaucracy stopping these patients accessing vaccines. The normal rules that cold chain delivery of vaccines will only issue from the HSE every 10 days is still applied, despite the national emergency in which we are all operating.
I am told that at this stage the patients in these and presumably other practices are about four weeks behind the rest of the country. I have contacted officials locally and nationally in the HSE and have asked Deputy Brendan Smith to do likewise.
These patients and their families are entitled to the peace of mind that the Covid-19 vaccine can give. They, like patients of other larger practices have endured cocooning, isolation and worry, they are entitled to the same treatment also. Action is needed urgently.